The world's best Executive MBA program belongs to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Kellogg School of Management. That's according to the Financial Times' 16th global executive MBA ranking, published on Monday.
The joint Chinese-American program dominated the table from 2009 to 2014 but lost out to Tsinghua University/INSEAD in 2015.
The strength of Kellogg/HKUST's program is the quality of its executive students. A smaller cohort of about 50 allows the schools to select top calibre participants, and creates a closer connection between them.
“This unique East-West partnership brings together the brightest students around the world,” said professor Kar Yan Tam, dean of HKUST Business School.
Also, its graduates achieved the highest average salary three years after graduation, reaching US$469,000 (HK$3,655,626) — a 55% increase on their pre-MBA pay.
INSEAD's joint program dropped into second place, although its single-school course shot up three places to fourth.
The Trium Global EMBA delivered by HEC Paris, the London School of Economics and NYU Stern is unchanged in third.
The FT ranks the best 100 programs globally for working senior executives. It is based on a survey of business schools and their alumni. The data measure how successful alumni have been in their careers, in terms of salary and seniority.
Completing the top-five is the joint EMBA delivered by Washington University of the US and China's Fudan University.
Its rise helped to knock out of the top-five the EMBA-Global, a joint program delivered by London Business School and Columbia Business School, for the first time ever. It places eight in 2016. That's because it saw a slight drop in the average salary of its alumni compared with last year, down $4,300 to $227,000.
Conversely the best business school of career progression is ESMT Berlin. The German school relies on its extensive corporate network, mostly in the manufacturing industry, to increase the seniority of its students.
The highest riser is French school Grenoble. It's up 20 spots to 67. That's despite its alumni having the lowest average salary at $114,000. What helped Grenoble was a 7% uptick in salaries compared with last year, and its strong gender balance. Grenoble is one of only three schools with gender parity.
Henley Business School of the UK is ranked top for female faculty. Female students account for 30% of participants on its EMBA, but it has the most gender balanced faculty body, with 47% women.
There is a wide gender gap in salaries across the board, with women earning 15% less than men before their EMBAs ($111,000 to $128,000).
The post-EMBA gender pay gap has grown wider still to 17%. Women earn $170,000 to men’s $200,000.
And there are significantly fewer women who occupy positions as department heads of above three years after graduation.
To see the full ranking, click here.